To students of Pure and Applied Mathematics at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Dr. Waweru Kamaku is a dedicated lecturer and mentor who has successfully guided hundreds through their studies. At the national level however, football fans recognize Waweru as a refined centre referee who has presided over several Kenya Premier League derbies. After two years of enviable service to Kenya’s football fraternity, Dr. Waweru was declared 2014 Kenya Premier League Centre Referee of the Year, November 19, at a colourful ceremony in Nairobi.
Dr. Waweru’s rise to the apex of refereeing however has not been an easy match. He has surmounted a number of obstacles that could easily whittle down even the most zealous of spirits. The first challenge was how to balance his love for football and his duties as a lecturer. He had to sacrifice personal comfort at the end of lectures to continue with training deep in the night. This handsomely paid off.
“The more I engaged in sports, the more productive I became in my academic undertakings,” Waweru revealed.
Then came the challenge of managing some of the most difficult matches of KPL. In July 2014 for instance, the soft spoken and agile don turned football aficionado presided over the Mashemeji derby: pitting perennial rivals, Gor Mahia against AFC Leopards; a match that most referees would rather watch from the VIP sections than manage.
The don attributes his field success to professionalism and mentorship by a number of personalities in the sports community.
“It is paramount to exercise fairness as a referee. You should be guided by reason and not emotions while making decisions,” he advises.
Taking motivation from the win, Dr. Waweru has now set his eyes to be one of the International FIFA referees, a dream whose ultimate end, he adds, would be to officiate a World Cup football match.